West Africa: Destination Cameroon

Day 17
Woke up early to catch the ferry across the Congo River to Brazzeville. Izaak arrived at about 8am , he was going to help me to do the crossing
as he knows a couple of people in the port who could speed up the process with customs. He also had a news paper article with
a story of my motorcycle trip. I had been interviewed by The Daily Report, a local newspaper, who had been interested in my trip and my experiences
in the DRC. I was completely shocked to see a half page article in the paper describing my trip. It explained how I was very surprised to find the DRC a good country
to visit, with great people and that I felt very safe walking around Kinshasa enjoying the nightlife and good restaurants. They don't normally
get good feedback from visitors, so were very happy to report on my stay and encourage  tourism in the country.

We both got onto the heavily loaded bike and headed for the port. The port was teaming with thousands of people from various African countries all coming or going from Kinshasa.
We found his contact, a local customs official. He took my passport and motorcycle papers and dissapeared into the madness.
I knew that if we did not have a contact that the  crossing would be a nightmare. Half an hour later he was back with all the stamps and paperwork necessary aswell as a ferry ticket.
Loading the bike onto the ferry was difficult as it does not normally carry vehicles. After lots of screaming and shouting we managed to squeeze the bike onto the boat
packed with people and their good. 
Getting across to Brazzaville took about 20 minutes, but getting my bike off was very difficult as there was no ramp to drive it  off.
Izaak recruited about 8 men to lift the bike and carry it off the boat onto the jetty.It was absolute chaos with everybody shouting and screaming at each other.
Eventually we succeeded in getting the bike off the boat. 
This was where the real problems started. I gave my passport to the Congolese customs officials and they immediately wanted to know what 'business' I had come to do in the Congo.
I told them I was not on business, I was just going to be touring through the country on route to Gabon. The problem was that the visa was, for some unknown
reason, stamped as a business visa, when I received it in South Africa. I never realized this as it was written in French.
They told me I was not allowed to enter the Congo and that I was in a lot of trouble for trying to enter the Congo under false pretenses.
I phoned Alpha, my contact in DRC. He sent his cousin, who lives in Brazzeville, to come down to the port and sort things out. Ten minutes later a man named Dodo
arrived . His friend was Head of Customs and Emigration, and he convinced them to let me in. Thank goodness for all these people who have helped me.

I found a place to stay called  Hippo Campus. A great spot were I met another overland biker called Roman from Poland.
Roman had being waiting in Brazzeville for a month, trying to get a visa for the DRC, but was not having any luck. Apparently they only issue visas in your home
On my first night in Brazeville, Dodo arrived at the Hippo Campus to take me for supper and show me around Brazzeville. He was a great guy. We went to his favorite local restaurant and then he took me to see the destruction the munitions depot had caused when it exploded a few months back. All the buildings within a 1 km radius had being totally destroyed. They estimate that more than 1000
people were killed in the explosion.
We then ant off to a local pub for a few beers. It was a really good evening out.

DAY 18
Th next day I woke up early and went to breakfast at a local stall close to the Hippo Campus with Roman. We had bananas and oatmeal mixed together. Not my 
favorite, but it filled me up. After returning to Hippo Campus and fixing a few things on the bike, I slept for the rest of the day. That evening I went out for supper with 
Roman to another one of his local haunts. We had a French bread roll with peanut butter and banana. It was good, especially washed  down with
a beer. Brazzeville is a busy city with many market and informal businesses everywhere. The people are super friendly despite living in absolute poverty.
I chatted with Roman who has also travelled from Alasca to Patagonia, the tip of South America. He had some very interesting stories and I think that may
be my next bike trip!

Day 19

I left Brazzaville for Luttete , about 150 km away. It was a terrible sand road running through small villages.I drove most of the day and only arrived as it was getting
dark. Luckily I found a room for the night.I would rather had camped but, there was no option.
A truck driver heard me speaking to the owner of the rooms and came over and introduced himself as he could see I was battling to
explaining myself in French. Nobody talks English, which really makes this trip challenging. luckily he could speak some English and we went out for some beers.
He drives trucks for his father, delivering goods between Dollisia and Brazzeville.

Day 20
Left the next day at 6am for Dolosie. Another hectic days riding and I'm really starting to get tired. It is first and second gear for hours on end only stopping 
for short water breaks. Having many close calls with falling, but so far have stayed top side up.The bike seems to be loosing a bit of power.
Will have to clean the air filter soon.
Arrived at Dollisie and found a truckers stop over where I got a room with no water or toilet. The room was however clean and there was a safe place to park the bike.
Found a local bar /restraunt to get some food. they only had monkey or chicken with fried bananas- I went for the chicken.
I went back and plotted my course for the long stretch to Gabon going north to Ndende.


Woke up early at 5am to get a good start as I knew this was going to be the biggest challenge of the whole trip.
Firstly, my stomach was very sore, and I felt extremely nauseas. This was not good, but took some immodium and valoid and left.
Again, tough road but very few people around. The vegetation is thick long straw like grass on the side of the road and then forest sections.
I rode for about 1 hour and was feeling really awful, but knew there was little I could do but keep going. Luckily I had lots of water, but was praying that the bike
staye in one piece. I am constantly fixing broken bolts with cable ties to hold my luggage racks onto the bike.
Got stuck in the sand a few times and had to get off the bike and push. Eventually arrived in a village were the local chief /police wanted to check my passport. He was
very aggressive and called a few other guys to come over and look at the passport. I could see this was going to be an attempt to get money from
me. Next thing he started pointing at a visa for China in my passport and shouting problem problem! Then shouting dollars dollars. I was in a tricky situation because I knew he was
trying to extract money from me. I pulled out my credit card and told him, no money. This confused them all. Eventually after playing the waiting game,
I managed to grab my passport back from him and rode off. Still not feeling well and trying to stay conscious, I made my way to the border
where I made it through customs relatively easily with very friendly customs officials working out of a shabby building.
Into Gabon and onto Ndende, where I had to get through customs again to enter Gabon officially. It went relatively smoothly , except for the fact that I did not have a visa for Gabon as it is
not a requirement for SA passport holders. After alot of checking and questioning I got my entry stamp and road off looking for a place to stay. I tried two guest houses but both were full.
Asked if i could camp at the immigration office but they said no as they were not prepared to take responsibility for me and the bike.
As usual, I asked a local on the street. he had a scooter and I followed him to a run down place where the owner was quite shocked to see
a white guy looking to sleep over. They gave me a room, absolutely filthy, toilets outside with no roof and the building falling to pieces.
Luckily there was an old Nigerian guy there who could talk English. I told him I was not feeling well and he went off and made me some pepper soup
with a bread roll, which I think was his supper. Fantastic guy, he bought me clean water, and we sat and chatted about his life
and how he got to be living in Gabon. He was a sculptor and made sculptures for the local markets but I could see he was really battling to survive.
Went to bed and felt something very rodent-like walk over my back. This was creepy and I turned on my torch but could not find what it was.
Hardly slept the whole night.

Day 22
Woken a 6am with a knock at the door, it was Michael the Nigerian guy. He told me to come to his room were he had a fresh french
bread and some marmalade jam. I had some hot chocolate powder, boiled some water and we both enjoyed the meal together.
Feeling a little better than the day before, I left for Libreville. A stunning ride on good tarred road winding its way through a huge rain forest that went through small villages
and over big wide rivers. I stopped to take pictures of the local fishermen in their wooden canoes laying out their nets.
After 570 km I arrived in Libreville, it was dark now and I had no clue where to find accommodation. I drove down the beach road and found
the Meridian Hotel. This was right on the beach but they wanted 285 dollars per night. I was so tired I agreed. By this stage I would have paid anything for a clean room with a decent
shower with hot water and my own bathroom. By SA standards the room was terrible for the price, but for me it was heaven.
Had the longest hot shower in my life and came out feeling like a new man. Went across the road to a local
Lebonese deli and had a a great meal with beef, chips, coldslaw and vegetables. I was feeling good now and went back to the hotel for a beer, but a beer was R75 for a small Heineken. I walked out and went back to the room
were I slept for 10 solid hours. 

Third Leg: Destination Kinshasa

Day 5
Driving from Lubango to Benguela.
Leaving Lubango which was part of the effected towns during the South African Angolan war.
Lots of blown up tanks and military vehicles still laying abandoned around the town. The road was
good tar for about 40 km and then the dirt deviations started. Very bad rough corrugated sand road
people stop and stare when they see me approaching on a motorbike , they do not get a lot of tourists
driving through the country.
Eventually arrived in Benguela and found a guest house for the night , as there was no option for camping.
Stayed at Nancy’s English school/guest house. 65 dollars per night for a room with no windows and communal
bathroom. The people were very friendly and gave me a lot of ideas about what I should see in the area.
Went to Lobito for the day which is about 30 km down the coast. both Benguela and Lobito are beautiful little towns
with great beaches and good restaurants. in Lobito I needed to get some welding done on my bike.
Stopped a guy on the side of the road. He said he will show me were to go. He jumped on the back of the bike.
We drove into the nearest township and found a local welder. Fixed the problem, but i also needed to buy some new allan keys, so off we
went to a guy he thought might have. Found a Portuguese guy called Renaldo. Firstly when he saw me and the bike he got very excited and said he would
like to show me his workshop. There inside he had 3 new bikes Yamaha royal star, a motto guzzi California and a Honda Trans alp.
After giving me 2 allan keys, he then said he wants to take me for lunch. Off we went to an amazing place called the alpha bar.
3 off his friends joined us. He paid for lunch and beers. I wanted to pay but he insisted he was treating me. It turned out he was the
head of the local motorcycle club. I was giving a cap and shirt with the clubs emblem on .
What amazing hospitality!
drove back to Benguela for the night.

Day 8
Long drive to the capital Luanda, absolute chaos. Took
 me about an hour to find a place to camp.
Went to the local boat club were the manager Ricardo said i can put my tent up outside the club house

He then went and got me a cold beer/ he also said i could camp for free, what a bonus.
Met 2 guys 1 a South African on business will pitching my tent.
They invited me for supper at the clubs restaurant, had a great evening chatting about Angola which he knew very well
from living there for a number of years.

Day 9
Woke up, and would you believe Ricardo invited me to his house for breakfast. Met his daughters and son
and got a big send off with lots of photos and goodbyes. Angolan hospitality is mind blowing.
Then set off on what I knew was going to be a tough day of off road riding to Nzetso. Difficult was an understatement the
road was hardly there, very thick sand and lots of corrugation. Keeping from falling was not easy.
After driving 250 km for 9 hours i was exhausted when I reached Nzetso. Needed fuel, asked a local who pointed me in the direction
off a local house. Luckily they had some fuel in containers, so toped up the tank. Found the local guest house/ run down place with
very dirty rooms. Luckily they had cold beer.  While sitting outside on the veranda the local police chief saw me and came to introduce himself.
We had a beer together while the whole town came to watch us. Very friendly guy. Shortly after I saw another white guy walk in.
Had a chat, he is working on putting in solar energy in the villages; he was from Spain working for the Angolan government.
All in all had another fantastic evening.

Day 10
Next day was an easy ride 230 km to Mbanza. Great scenery as i am travelling more north it getting very tropical so lots of greenery and
forests. When i arrived in Mbanza i was immediately follow and pulled over by the local police . About 10 policemen heavily armed with
machine guns surrounded me and seemed very suspicious off me arriving in the remote town on my motorcycle. They wanted my passport
wanted to know what i doing there and were i had being in Angola.
After convincing them i was not a spy. They escorted me to the front of a long long cue to fill up with fuel. They then asked me if i would like a police escort to the
border between Angola and the DRC. They seemed quite concerned for my safety. From research i had done i thought this section was relatively safe so convinced them to
let me drive alone. Left town on a not so good road and rode about 100 km to the border. Getting through the border posts was a real mission, lots of paper work and questions.
eventually i was in the DRC, started driving to the capital Kinshasa  immediately after entering the first small village i was pulled over by the local traffic police. They were quite aggressive
toward me and were pointing to my head lights on my bike. I immediately realised they wanted money to let me go as there was no problem with the bike. I just played dumb until they
realised i was not giving them anything. Drove on towards Kinshasa on a road winding its way through heavy tropical forest road.  realising I was not going to make Kinshasa before dark I
stopped in another small town called Mbangu Ngungu. Found a place to stay for the night, it was like a fortress with high walls and heavily burglar bars on the windows. Very unfriendly
owner who wanted to charge me 40 dollars for a room with no lights . The communal toilet was filthy and there was no water. Luckily i had kept an extra 2 litres with me from Angola.
The staff kept hassling me for money, I just ignored them but could see I was not very popular. Left early the next day for Kinshasa, again lots of road blocks and questions about what i was doing
riding my bike alone in this region. Eventually arrived on Kinshasa and made my way to the catholic mission where i knew they have rooms they rent out -  fantastic place with clean rooms
and good outside area to sit under huge big trees. I befriended a car guard in Cape Town who’s brother lives in Kinshasa. I phoned him and asked if his brother could show me around Kinshasa.

20 minutes later his brother arrived in a new jaguar and dressed in a really smart suit. His name was Alpha he also brought an English speaking friend called Izaak
with him to translate from French as very few people can talk English. Very friendly guys. Jumped in the car with them and was taken to the
hotel Memling for drinks, this is a 5 star hotel of a very high standard in the middle of Kinshasa. Sat next to the pool and had a primus beer.
He then wanted to buy me supper but i knew the prices were exorbitant. He then said he is not happy with me staying at the catholic mission and was going to reception to pay for 2 nights
in the hotel. I took about 20 minutes to convince him i was fine at the catholic mission and could not except his kind offer. The rooms would
have being about 350 us dollars a night.

 They then took me to a great local restaurant were we had a fantastic meal; again he paid for the meal and drinks. They then told me there was a big concert
on and would i like to join them. I agreed and off we went. The artist was a famous Congolese called Coffee. Cost 50 us dollars per person were again they would not let me pay, went into
the outdoor stadium and ordered some drinks and waited for the show to start. I could see that this was a place only frequented by the rich of Kinshasa. What a fantastic experience for me, the artist was
amazing and atmosphere of the crowd was unbelievable.  These people can party!!!
After the concert they took me back to the mission at about 3 30 am. Great experience!
Slept for about 4 hours and was woken with a knock on the door. It was Izaak the English speaking friend from the night before. Told me he had come to take me for breakfast and give me a tour around
the city. So got dressed and off we went, walking through the streets of Kinshasa, lots of people staring at me as they don’t see allot of white guys in the city. Felt very safe though. Found a local Lebanese restaurant
and had the best shwarma in my life. After that we caught a taxi to the rich area on the banks of the Congo River were all the embassies are located. Beautiful area with huge big houses
were all the embassy staff live. Walked along the edge of the mighty Congo, this is a really spectacular, probably about 2 km to the other side but apparently at certain points
it can be as much as 19 km to cross at certain sections. We then walked to the nearby grand hotel were his friend worked. Sat around the pool and had a few beers great location.
Stopped off for a quick bite to eat on the way back to the mission. Had a shower , got changed when Alpha arrived this time in a new grand Cherokee jeep. Took me back to his house, really big place with servants and permanent
watch men outside. I met his lovely wife and 5 kids. She had prepared an amazing supper for us with good wine and beer to go with it.by this stage i was completely blown away by their hospitality. they then asked me if i would like
to go to a private family party were a local family cousin had just completed her degree. Drove through the slums of Kinshasa and arrived at a house with about 50 people dancing and drinking. I was welcomed by everybody like i was part
of the family. They grabbed me and i was pulled into the centre of the courtyard were they wanted me to dance, this was an experience i will never forget, i am not much of a dancer but
I gave it my best shot. There was a lot of joking and pointing but all in good humour. Amazing people! Then off we went with the girl who
was celebrating her graduation to a really upmarket club. Sat in awe watching the Congolese boogie, they could put anyone to shame. Again i was the only white guy in the whole place
but felt very safe. People would keep coming up to me to chat; unfortunately i cannot talk French so the communication was not good.
Left the club at about 4am, but by this stage i was really tired. Went back to the mission and had a good night’s rest. For all in all i paid for nothing food beers entrance fee were all paid for by Alpha, i had wanted to pay but was told by Izaak the
English interpreter that the custom was that when u can help a Stanger u do not let them pay for anything and they would be offended if i wanted to pay my way... i felt embarrassed by this generosity, as i like to pay my way in life
Turns out Alpha is the head of tax collection for the government and is very well connected in Kinshasa.

Second Leg: Angola


Well last email I was in oshikati Namibia . After spending the night in the protea hotel Crossed the border at santa Clara into Angola. Long long proseedure.lots of Questions and paper work. But as usual there was alot of people who helped me through the process. drove to Labungo from the border. the road was 50 percent gravel but not too bad. About 450 km .
Got to Casper lodge and camped .
Great night but ice cold, got to get a better sleeping bag. Going north so probably won't be a problem for too many nights.

Day 5
Left for benguela on good tar road for about 20 km then bad gravel for about
150  km after that the road was good all the way to Benguela . Arrived at Nancy's English school/ guest house run by an American lady who has being in Angola for about 15 years. Got a room with no bathroom or windows. But was secure for my bike As there was no were to camp .

First leg - Namibia: Final

Left tsumeb at about 11 am as i only had to drive 280 km to oshikati.
The road was completely different with lots of cars and cows and donkey crossing the middle of 
the road, the REAL AFRICA HAD BEGUN. 

boiling hot so had to take off all my under clothing
from my biking jacket and pants. Stopped to have a water break on the side of the road and a guy
in army uniform came out of the bushes from know were.Came up to me and asked were i was going,
told him and he was a little confused why anybody would want to drive through Africa on a motorbike.
Apparently there is an army base nearby, but not much for these guys to do as the area does not have many
problems anymore.

Drove on to Oshikati were I filled up with petrol and would you believe a wimpy, had the burger special while trying to watch my bike through the window
with all my belongings on it.

Found a protea hotel 30 km out of town so first night in a proper bed with and shower.
Booked in and carried all my bags up to the room, they also have free wii fi , i know i wont get again.
Tomorrow of to the santa clara border post 60km away,then into Angola and onto lubango were i will look
for a place to camp.So far the trip has being great, really enjoyed the Namibian open spaces and friendly

First leg: Namibia

HI There, 

Well so far the ride has being fantastic, left cape town around 6am on Tuesday and rode of in very heavy mist all the way to citrusdal,.stopped for a
cup of coffee and a local farmer started chatting to me. he is also a bike enthusiast. he then got in his car and went off home to get me snacks for
the road. came back with a bag full of nuts chocolates and fruit UNBELIEVABLE.
Carried on riding towards springbok still in mist and ice cold. 20 KM springbok  i ran out of fuel ,could not believe it because my bike normally does
400 km on a tank.luckily there was cell phone coverage, so phoned my lovely wife to try and get someone in springbok to bring me fuel. 30 minutes later
a bakkie pulled up and this guy gave me 5 litres petrol .
Filled up in Springbok and carried on up to the border . went through smoothly and arrived at the fellix unite camp site right on the orange river at about 7pm.


Wednesday was a long 800 km ride all the way to Windhoek , starting out with desert landscape and becoming more bush veld like the closer i got to Windhoek.
found a campsite in the back of the chameleon backpackers lodge, lots of tents in a tiny little courtyard . had great fun with the other travelers and went to bed far too late .

Thursday drove around Windhoek looking for an auto electrician, my 12volt socket is not working on my bike, so cannot charge my phone or ipod. could not find one so left Windhoek and headed for tsumeb. great ride as the vegetation is really changing fast now that i am heading north, drove alongside the etosha game reserve, saw lots of bush pigs , buck and baboons. got to tsumeb and camped at the cupper quella resort. stunning spot, i was the only one camping in this big green lush open space.

West Africa: First Leg - Windhoek, Namibia

Finally, I have reached the border! 

After a very long drive yesterday, 825 kilometers to be exact, from Cape Town, I have reached my first destination point, Namibia. However, last night 03 July, I decided to set up camp along side the famous Orange River. What a stunning spot indeed. 


After a good night's rest on the banks of  the peaceful river, I woke up to the smell of fresh water and a clear, open sky. I made my way down to a local pub where I got fed a good meal and an ice cold beer. Just what I needed!! 

Once my tummy was full and I was all freshened up I was ready to hit the road again. Next stop, WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA. 
I  spent most of my day riding yesterday, 04 July. I have a beautiful undisturbed view of open desert landscape with very few cars on the road. However, this is a long, long drive from the border to Windhoek.

Last night I stayed at the stunning Chameleon Backpackers Lodge in Windhoek. Website  I paid 80 bucks for the night which included a mouth-watering breakfast. Amazing! I feel refueled, rejuvenated and ready to tackle a new day. 

Today I will make my way further up North to the city of Oshakati. 

Check in with me tomorrow for some images and my where-abouts for the day. 
Happy day friends. 

West Africa: The start

It seems like just the other day our MD, Philip Stam packed nothing more than a sleeping bag, a few outfits, a can of petrol and and tent and decided to head off on a road trip starting from Cape Town and ending up in Cairo, Egypt.

Ever since we can remember Philip has loved motorcycles, however he has a special kind of love for his favorite girl, KTM. So, 2008 when Philip decided to follow his life long dream of traveling along the East Coast of Africa there was no compromise when it came to choosing a vehicle. The KTM was the only and the best choice of transportation. 


For 8 weeks Philip drove through the off roads of Africa. Each day he was introduced to new cultures and new faces, each one of  them welcoming him with open arms. With new sites every hour and new challenges, Philip has found a new appreciation for life. 


In as little as 3 years later, Philip has decided to plan his second trip through Africa. This time follow him live as he and his trusted steed KTM, make their way up along the West Coast of Africa- Traveling from our hometown Cape Town all the way up the beautiful country of Morocco. Meet new people and enjoy the scenic views from a different point-of-view as Philip travels through our gorgeous continent, AFRICA.

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